Welcome to my Blog - What Is A Blog?

A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. ... Your blog is whatever you want it to be.

For many years I have kept a journal, which I don't write in as much as I once did. I have an inner yearning to communicate with the world through writing and pictures Part of my motivation is to leave something behind to a world that has given me so much - a mom, dad, brother, grandparents, a loving wife, high spirited and gifted sons, close friends and loyal customers. Most of us have had some help along the way to get where we are. In my 12 step program, step 12 is about giving back to others. I hope there are posts here that will warm your heart, make you smile and make you think. That is what my blog is all about. I hope you enjoy it. Ken

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Along with the IDT school program, comes Anna, a counselor from the school. She’s been assigned as Sam’s case worker. Seated around the kitchen table, she wants to talk about what happened. All of us are shocked about another senseless act of crime. Anton was his name – only sixteen – just a baby. Anna shares how things like this can happen when we hang out with the wrong crowd. I retrospectively share I don’t see any good that comes with an extended relationship with drugs and alcohol: “If you hang around long enough, you’re going to get bit – it may be getting arrested for driving under the influence. It may be breaking your ankle at a skateboard park or getting mugged It could be overdosing and dying.” I recall and share an episode in South Park when Mr. Mackey, the teacher, sums up drugs by saying “drugs are bad.” Sam is upset but doesn’t want to talk about it. Anna tries her best to help but it’s tough getting through to anyone when they tune you out.

Sam is still disappearing in the middle of the night and running with the wrong kids. We never know where he is. Barb thinks Sam could do well at another inpatient program called Omegon. There’s usually a long waiting list to get in but now there’s an opening. We’re interested in Sam getting into another treatment program if only to keep him safe. Barb arranges an interview. Sam is not open to going to treatment but somehow Barb persuades him go to the interview.

We arrive. In the meeting Sam won’t admit he has a problem. Since we don’t have a court order Sam chooses not to go. We’re frustrated but what can we do? Sam’s behavior just continues until one day I find something in his bedroom. I take it to the police station and ask the officer on duty if they will do an analysis. I want to know what it is. The next day we get a call from the South Lake Minnetonka Police Department. Officer Klein says it’s definitely an illicit drug. I call Barb: Normally I wouldn’t be happy but in this case I am. Now we have a much better chance of getting a court order that will send Sam to Omegon. SLMPD asks me to call them when Sam comes home so they can send over an officer to talk with him. When Sam gets home, I make the call. Soon a police detective shows up in an unmarked car. Our neighbors have gotten used to seeing police cars in our driveway. He and Sam have a talk. Detective Bowser explains to Sam that possession is a felony. But - because I had brought the substance to the police station instead of calling the police and having them search his room, no charges can be filed. “But”, the detective says, “You still are in big trouble.” The next day, Barb comes over to tell Sam that she has a court order for him to go to treatment at Omegon. With nowhere to run, Sam agrees to go. What a relief! We’re happy to get Sam out of harms way and in a safe place. On another level, I’m hurting inside and sad. When I turned sixteen I got my drivers license. Happy Birthday Sam. You get to go to treatment.

Omegon is an Indian name that means “the last stop.” It is located in Minnetonka and is a dual diagnosis treatment program. Dual diagnosis addresses not just chemical dependency issues but explores psychological aspects of trying to find the “why” for a child’s deviant behavior. There is a full time family psychologist on staff as well as a psychiatrist who meet with Sam enough times to form a diagnosis of his mental state. The diagnosis is that Sam has depression, oppositional defiant behavior, and attention deficit disorder (ADD). He is prescribed at least two medications for his diagnosis and another to help him sleep at night. Sam is often restless

Omegon has a population of about thirty-five teenage boys and girls. Omegon was once a small school. The facility includes segregated housing for the boys and girls a cafeteria and school. Counselors and teachers are assigned to the kids. All the kids have a private counselor to work with. Omegon is an impressive treatment facility. It is organized a lot like the military with a woman named Peg as “the general” and a whole line of soldiers with different titles reporting to her. There are head counselors, primary and secondary counselors – I’m impressed at how organized this place is.

Channa and I have to attend weekly family therapy with James, the resident psychologist. In our first session, Sam is disrespectful to us so James asks him to leave the room. He tells us he is setting boundaries and Sam’s disrespectful attitude towards us is not okay. Part of Omegon’s mantra suggests self respect and respecting others. After a few weeks of therapy with James, Sam is invited to try and rejoin us. When describing home life, I say “having Sam in our house was like being held hostage by a terrorist.” James face turns red. He turns his head towards me and gets cross saying he doesn’t like my choice of words and asks that I not use that word again. But the reality is Sam did act like a terrorist. If we wouldn’t buy him cigarettes or let him go someplace, after saying “No,” he’d threaten us. When we told him he had to go to the IDT School, he threatened to blow up the place. His bark was louder than his bite but he got good at flexing his mental muscles to get his way. His behavior reminds me of the wizard in “Oz” who is all powerful behind his machine that spews smoke and roars like thunder. But when Toto pulls back the drapes, there is a kind, gentle little man sitting on a stool pushing buttons pulling levers to make him seem larger than he really is. Maybe Sam feels hurt inside because he sure goes out of his way to let everyone know how tough he is. Therapy is good. We learn to take better care of ourselves and how to set boundaries. We learn Sam’s behavior is not a hundred percent our fault. Kids like Sam are tough to control. There are family support meetings we have to attend every other Saturday. We get an opportunity to meet the parents who also have their kids here. I feel like I did at my first AA meetings: I don’t belong here. I feel different. My story is different. Get me out of here!

The meetings are moderated by James. We first go around and introduce ourselves and say the name of our child. After the meetings, we get an opportunity to visit our kids. In the beginning, Sam chooses not to see us. He’s mad at us for sending him here. It hurts that he doesn’t want to see us but our hearts say we’re doing the right thing: Helping Sam find his way to get back on the right track.

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